Meek Mill, Gov. Wolf call for criminal justice reform in Pennsylvania

- Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf was joined by rapper Meek Mill Thursday morning as he made a call-to-action for criminal justice reform in the state of Pennsylvania.

Gov. Wolf was joined by the rapper, Congressman Dwight Evans, and Philadelphia 76ers co-owner Michael Rubin at the National Constitution Center.

The call-to-action aims to make Pennsylvania’s criminal justice system more fair and focuses on rehabilitation.

Meek Mill, whose real name is Robert Rihmeek Williams, was at the center of a months-long controversy after he was sentenced to two to four years behind bars for probation violations back in November. The sentence sparked wide-ranging public reaction and criticism of the state’s criminal justice system.

“It was my pleasure to stand with Governor Wolf and support his initiatives to reform the Pennsylvania criminal justice system,” said Meek Mill. “I know firsthand the flaws in the system, so I’m greatly encouraged by the Governor’s commitment to ensuring a fair sentencing process and ultimately ending the unjust cycle of incarceration in our state.”

Williams was released after the state Supreme Court ordered the judge who had sentenced him to let him out while he appeals his decade old drug and gun convictions.

After his release, Williams said he plans on getting those convictions overturned and plans on resuming his music career.

Judge Genece Brinkley, who sent Mill to prison and had refused to release him on bail until the Supreme Court ruling, was accused by the defense of waging a vendetta against the rapper. She defended herself, saying she had acted "impartially and without prejudice" in all proceedings since 2008.

“The debate about how we can fix our criminal justice system is complicated, and over time that debate has changed to reflect the modern realities and issues present in our system,” Governor Wolf said. “I believe that we can improve the criminal justice system, so that we can protect victims while also ending a cycle of incarceration that has left so many people feeling trapped, helpless, and without an opportunity to return to society after they have been released.”

Thursday, the governor outlined a package of reforms that included justice reinvestment initiatives, bail and pre-trial reforms, Post-Conviction Relief Act Expansion, probation/parole revocation and resentencing, and comprehensive Clean Slate legislation.  

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